Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is Mormonism a Cult?

    No one believes exactly the same thing about what happens after we die.  Even if they're the same religion, everyone has different beliefs and opinions.  I have to say, I find the notion romantic.  No matter what, everyone has their own spin on things.
    But living in Utah, my opinions don't seem to matter.  All I hear is how I should be Mormon (or LDS as many people say).  No matter how much I politely ask them to leave me alone, they won't. 

    Before I go on, let me mention, this isn't a post to discount Mormonism or prove it right; I just want to give you my side of the story as a non-Mormon living in Utah.

     To start off, here's a quote from Rutherford Birchard Hayes.  (I got this from an irate LDS woman who I don't even know; she sent me several e-mails yesterday after reading my post.)

    The woman who sent me that quote said she didn't appreciate my post yesterday.  Here's that link if you're curious:   
   She also said (and I'm paraphrasing here), I made it sound like all elderly LDS women like soft porn.
    Wow!  That's not what I was going for AT ALL.
    Over the next couple of e-mails, she proceeded to try converting me.  She sent that quote, saying, "People use this to help sway others from converting to the LDS church, when really it proves us correct.  We've been persecuted far more than other religions; we're even persecuted in our own state."
    More than other religions, huh--that's a bit of a stretch.  Also, who said this is their state?
    Really?  She's seriously persecuted?  Then why is it, that I've been terrified to write a post like this?  Terrified--literally! Why is it that I lost my best friend in grade school when her mom found out I wasn't Mormon.  I got stood up to a high school dance because kids threatened me AND my date after finding out he was Mormon and I was not.
    Once, I had a teacher call me a Born Again CRICKET!  The list goes on . . .
    But the one that's killing me, the one thing I will NOT tolerate happened to the Scribe (my daughter).
    My oldest daughter stopped wearing a cross to school because kids wouldn't play with her and instead asked why she had "dead Jesus" on her necklace.
    What are certain--extremest--parents teaching their children?     
    Most Mormons are good people, most folks in general are decent, but THESE actions are uncalled for.  And that is what this post is to address.
    Utah is great if you're Mormon, but most LDS people here don't know what a struggle it is for the rest of us who aren't a part of their church.  And now they think they're oppressed even here? 
    But I'm letting my womanly pain out too soon.  Let's get down to the facts.     

   First of all, what is a cult?
   A dictionary will tell you that a "cult" is a group of people who are regarded by others as strange.  That particular group must have a devotion to a certain object or person.

    In a loose sense of the term, there are many cults out there.

    But, I'm getting away from myself.  I'm writing this because I'm sick of religious persecution.  I got that string of e-mails yesterday, and then to top it off, I saw this picture on facebook for THE MILLIONTH time.  One of my old friends from Jr. High posted it:

    Despite the fact that this is OBVIOUSLY photo shopped (check out the fuzzy lines right next to the words--the same lines that aren't fuzzy in other places), why do people need to post this?
    Want me to point some things out?
    Here you go:
    My opinion?  Well, it's time to get spicy:
    This sign is written BY IDIOTS, for idiots.  How does it feel putting others down to build yourself up?  Dozens of people had "liked" the picture my friend posted.  Well, I took my kids to a Baptist church on Sunday and I'm not laughing.  On top of this--it's been photo shopped--bearing false witness?  I hope that'll work out well when you're trying to get into Heaven.

    For everyone who "liked" and "shared" that picture, think about this:   
    Taken from the Salt Lake Tribune: LDS Church officials declined interviews. But they issued a statement in response to questions submitted by The Tribune: "The church has always extended a hand of friendship and fellowship to those of other faiths, and will continue to do so."
    I suggest you take this into account next time you want to "fix" a photo.   

    So, do I think Mormonism is a cult?
    Yes, by definition.

    Do I want to hear why you might think I'm wrong.  Not really.  I've heard it my whole life.

    In closing, will I ever be Mormon?

    I just want to be treated cordially like anyone else.  Enough said.


  1. Interesting and right on the money. My friend Mark is just rude (downright rude) to folk of any religious stripe when they stop by. It seems to work.

  2. Wow. Good for you for sharing. I can't imagine kids being bullied over their religion today. That's kind of crazy. Churches (and parents) should be teaching love and tolerance and empathy.

  3. Very Very wrong for your daughter to be told there is something wrong with wearing a cross with Jesus(crucifix) and that is a direct result from her parents/guardians. Shame on them for teaching respect.

  4. I meant to say--for NOT teaching them respect! OOPS

  5. I've been to a couple of spiritual-type (not church, not mormon) meetings while visiting SLC and several people shared how difficult it is to have beliefs other than Mormon there. Strangely, the Mormons I meet here on the East Coast are some of the most accepting people I've met. Different than there. You're absolutely right, everybody deserves to be treated cordially. Being rude to people of other religions by telling them they're wrong, by relentlessly trying to convert them, by threatening them, not allowing your children to be friends with them, making fun of their beliefs- none of that makes you smarter, or more full of faith; it just makes you an asshole. I have lots of "smart" friends who are "too smart for religion" who spend a lot of time tearing down others' religious beliefs and it makes me question our friendship. I don't even consider myself any kind of a Christian. Anyway, great post. I'm glad you wrote it.

  6. Oh boy, it seems that the ones who sit in "church" often, and hear over and over the golden rule and "thou shalt not judge"...blah blah blah, never seem to take it to heart or practice it. I would say this is true of most any religious person, because if you have decided that you are right, and everyone else is wrong, naturally you are going to judge them. There's not a lot you can do with this mindset, but to just let it be, and go your own way. You don't even necessarily need a "church" house to start getting judgmental, religious crazy on people. We have our activist groups everywhere we look, right?!;)

  7. I'm sorry you've been afraid to write this--it needed to be said! As far as Mormons being persecuted more than any other religion, as a
    Jew I would argue that. How many relatives did she lose in Hitler's concentration camps? It always amazes me that no matter how many fanatics start a war, God is always "on their side"!

  8. I can't believe some nut job emailed you over that post. Yes if nut job is reading this, it is simply fact. Why people can't get a life and have to always impose their crap on others is beyond me. Religion seems to more often than not take the saying "opinions are like assholes" to a whole new level, substitute the "are like" with "from" and it seems to sum it up nicely. Everyone should have the beliefs they want, but if someone has opposing ones and they shun them because of it, not going to a dance or bullying a kid, how does their religion not say they will be all warm and toasty in hell. Ohhh right! They just ask God for forgivness and all is right with the world..pffft...then they do it again and same old cycle. An a-hole is an a-hole no matter the religion or cult.

  9. Veal - That would be pretty rough. And I'm sorry to hear about the trouble "The Scribe"'s been having. The good news is that I'm a Catholic and we never get made fun of *rolls eyes* LOL. I think the key is to be kind and respectful to others. I'll never push my religion in your face, but if anyone ever wants to talk about it, I'm more than happy to. Hang in there kiddo!

  10. Btw...forgot to tell you that's a really good FB pic! I just made one the other day, but am still searching for a picture that won't sear everyone's eyes out when they look at it...hehe

  11. Yeah! I'm so proud of you! Way to go!!!! In fact this probably my most proud moment. You didn't give into the bullying! No worries mine is scheduled for tonight. I have to make some slight changes or it will paraphrase yours but I'm letting loose too girl. I'm done with the nonsense as well.

  12. I tweeted you your very own sign that disproves that it was photo shopped.

    If your sign would like to dispute it you could make your own here. Yes, it's not really nice but they have mosque signs, scientology signs, but I didn't see a Mormon sign. I'm not in the business of making these or anything, I just had seen them before here:

  13. WOW--I had no idea there's a website like that. I wish the people on facebook knew that too. Check out some of the comments they wrote under the photo and "shares":

    "A church counseling a person NOT to pray. Enlightened church, I'd say."

    "How pathetic that they would put that up there!"

    "What an idiot who made that sign! I hope those who read the sign will be curious enough to find out for themselves."

    "Haha, baptists ..."

    If you'd like to read some comments and "shares"
    here's one of those links:

  14. Though I'm not sure I get the sign, I do believe that Mormonism is a cult, I'll go even farther and say that it does not fall within the pale of Christian orthodoxy. However, they can believe what they choose, but should leave people alone if they're not interested. I don't envy you, living in Utah, btw, did you notice that if you switch LDS around, you get LSD? Just sayin....

  15. our Sunday School class has been doing a 4 month series on the world's religions and cults. I can say with certainty that LDS is not Christian.
    Well, this page sums up some of the stuff you may not hear daily. None of it is derogatory, well the page I found isn't. I don't want to bash, just state the facts as I've been presented them. *We didn't learned from this site, but it seems to have many of the same things listed.

  16. I live in Mesa, AZ which is pretty heavy LDS. When my daughter wouldn't convert her sophomore year she essentially was on the outs with everyone for the last two years of high school.

  17. What amazes me is no one that disagrees with this post has the ballz to say anything about it? because they cant.... their own church's comment is a smack in their own pathetic faces. COME'ON i wanna hear your side of the story?!?! I use to be Mormon (LDS) and with simple research found the flaws.. How arrogant can people be? If their church is really true? why wont the masses speak their side of the story.. Sorry u were treated this way Elisa, REAL mormons i have known. are not like that..

  18. I'm so sorry to hear how you're treated in Utah! As a Mormon who grew up in Utah, I know it's hard for those of other faiths. (A Catholic friend told a group of us that when he's asked what "ward" he's in (what congregation), he says, "I'm in the St. Francis Ward." I thought it was a good way to correct people with some humor.) I know I've been guilty of assuming someone's Mormon when they're not, but I want you to know that there are Mormons in Utah who value our friends of other faiths and do our best to be sensitive to them--sorry you haven't encountered those types!

  19. I've already left a comment with Melynda pertaining to this problem, so I'll simply mention that Mormons are not Christians because they do not believe in the oneness of the trinity. I'm sorry some people are so rude to you. It's part of their "faith."

    Lola the Lutheran

  20. Ok, it's been all day so I had better comment before it's thought that I might be LDS so have been hiding away. My husband is a Biblical Scholar so I get to hear all the dirt on all the denominations and spin-offs. We are not affiliated with any denomination since it's hard to find one we completely agree with (and Branden's not about to go start a new one!)...but Mormonism is most definitely a big spin-off from standard Christian orthodoxy. I had some good friends that were non-Mormons living in Salt Lake City and they found it so hard. It really weighed them down and they were very strong personalities. Branden's Great Aunt was a member of the LDS church for about 30 years before she finally got out of it. The stuff she tells is shocking and she will outrightly tell anyone that it is a cult.

  21. I read a book called the 19th Wife. It's half fiction and half non-fiction. Either way, it was VERY educational. It really made me see the truth behind the LDS and mormon religion. I do not discriminate, and I never will. While I am Roman Catholic, I like to view myself as more of a modern day hippie.

    None of that matters. What DOES matter is that no one should ever push or bully their ideas onto someone else. Ever. Shame on them!!

  22. I just don't understand why we all just can't get along.

    When it's all said and done, the ones would lived "wrong", who ever that may or may not be, won't be there for eternity.

    Just sayin'

  23. I'm sorry. I've got non LDS friends who have suffered some of the things you have. It always appalls me some of the mentality here.

    A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
    A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

    Early Christianity would have been considered a cult. Meh.

  24. Any principle that requires admiration isn't real. Any god who requires worship doesn't exist.
    I believe, whoever wants truth and light will find it for themselves. To learn anything, you must put aside the safety of your ignorance. No one forces you to learn, you'll learn when you want to. To name a "thing" is harmless.. To name ideas is to create a religion... You are all free. to do. whatever you want to do...

  25. I'm Catholic so maybe this didn't cross my mind when I read your library post, but I did NOT get the impression that you thought that all Mormons like soft porn. I just thought that you found it funny that she was reading a religious book but suggesting trashy romance novels to you. The few Mormons I know up here in the Puget Sound (Seattle) area are all nice and accepting. I mean, one of my brother's best friends is Mormon. She's a really sweet and caring person and I don't think she cares if one of her friends wears a cross necklace.

    Also, to add to fishducky's comment, think of all the Muslims after 9/11. From what I've heard and understood and remember, they were looked down on after a few misguided souls who practice that religion attacked our country. At least I think the attackers were Muslim. Ridiculous either way.

  26. As a devout agnostic, it often feels to me like all religions are cults. I'm kidding ... at least I think I'm kidding. :)

  27. Religion is such a “hot” button with so many. And what gets me is that many times it’s those “religious” ones that are the nastiest of them all. Errr This is why I often avoid the topic even though I have a deep seeded faith. I believe people should treat one another with kindness and respect. It all comes back on you.

    I’m terribly sorry about the Scribe. Children are just little drones, marching under the direction of their misguided parents. It is so sad.

  28. WOW. JUst horrible, really. I don't understand. There is truth in all religion, and I am saying this as a practicing Catholic. I'm really shocked at this religious persecution - I have never heard of anything like it and I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

    But I commend you for writing about it, and saying what you needed and wanted to say. I pray that you find peace in your home, where people will leave you and your family alone and allow you to live the life you deserve and need.

  29. Now that I'm a working mom, I'm rethinking this LDS business. Can you imagine how handy it would be to have another wife at my house. She could help me with the kids, do the laundry,'s brillant. ;)

  30. I'm catching up on my bloghopping after a massive writing powow with myself and boy am I sorry I missed this the day it was posted. First of all BIG HUGS to you!

    I was raised mormon and left the church at the age of 17. Talk about some ostracization going on from friends and family at that juncture. Whew! I understand how dogged this church can be about doggerel.

    I also understand to what measures the criticisms can be and the societal push against those that differ from them. I EMPATHIZE and learned many fun curse words during this time of my life. ;)

    I want you to know that no matter what, no matter who says anything, that you have a firm following of friends who will always believe in your goodness. Carry that w/you always.

    And naninanipoopoo on the email pooprincess who thought otherwise. Let her dog me for a while and see if she likes the anime porn she'll get in return for her trouble. ;)

    Keep slugging slugger. :D

  31. I just wrote a huge comment. Grrrr.... It didn't post. I don't know if it will this time either, but basically what I said was....
    It doesn't matter what religion that child that said something that hurt your child was. It doesn't matter if what they said came from their parent. Unfortunately, people hurt people. If they don't have one thing to pick on another about, they will find something else. And then again, a lot of times things are taken out of context and cause pain because they are misunderstood. When I was living in Florida, My kids were called "White Crackers." It had nothing to do with religion. It had to do with race. Funny thing, one of my children is black. Anytime someone is not the norm of the people around them, others will find fault. And then again, people tend to find fault with those that are very similair in so many ways. I have seen a lot of families pulled apart because one doesn't agree with the other, and it has nothing to do with religion. Each person believes they are correct in how they think, and it causes contention and contention causes people to feel uncomfortable, and they find something to lash out with. I am in no means perfect, but I look for the good in others, and when they look down on me, I am challenged to show them I am not what they judge me to be. I have often made an enemy my friend. I bet for every Mormon you have had treat you poorly, there are as many stories of Mormons that have treated you well. I bet as many black people that have treated you poorly, there are as many that have treated you with respect. I bet as many Catholics that have treated you poorly, there are just as many that would lay down their life for yours. I bet for as many Mexican's that have turned their backs on you when you were in nead, there are that many more that would share their last bit of food with you if you were starving. For every bad their is an opposite. For every good their is an opposite. Without bad we would not recognize good. Maybe we as parents can learn by this to make sure that when we teach our children our beliefs, that we also make sure to teach them that all others do not believe the same. It really is posible, that it was simply an innocent mistake, but innocent mistakes do hurt. So, in all belief systems, religious or otherwise, we need to teach formost, to respect others and how to ask questions that do not offend. I am sorry your child was hurt. I am sorry that you feel so negatively towards "Mormons." And, no, even though I am Mormon, I do not take offense. I understand why you feel the way you do.

  32. Wow, looks like you missed the whole point. She was targeting the ignorant and stupidity of others. Thanks for further proving her point. And its not respect, the definition your searching for is compassion. BIG difference.

  33. No, I don't think that I missed her point. I was saying that most of the people here are just pointing their fingers at Mormons. I am stating that it isn't just Mormons that are at fault. It is the entire world. I love Elisa dearly, and know her personally. She is a living doll. I am putting out the point that it may be what we "do not" teach our children, that cause them to say things that maybe is misunderstood, that regardless who we are, we shold teach our kids to respect all others. Religion should not have anything to do with the way we treat another human being. And what you just said to me proves my point. I am not stupid, nor ignorant, and that proves my point. In order to have compassion, you have to have respect. Not sure why you took offense to my post.
    My other point was that no matter where you live, if you live in a community that is different from yourself, the people around you will make it hard to live there. If you don't fit in, people want you to either make yourself fit, or stop living there. It has happened through history with all different races and religions. That is my point. Elisa should not feel that she is "Different" nor should she feel she should "Conform" just because she isn't Mormon, as everyone should respect and have compassion for everyone else in the world. It is sad that we have to pin point and bash others. My Black daughter gets this from Mormons, or non Mormons, it doesn't matter, because we now live in a "White" community. When we lived in a black community, we got it from the "Blacks." Now, color you can't change, so basically they just tormented my kids. I have lived all over the U.S. and Canada, and I have seen this same thing over and over. So, you see, I do get it.

  34. This kind of stuff drives me crazy! Thank you for having the courage to write about it. Good for you. It's too bad there aren't more open-minded and open hearted people in this world...can you just imagine if there were? Life would be grand!

  35. I'm late to the party, but still felt I needed to comment. I think you've pretty much hit it on the head. I grew up LDS (Mormon) and much of my family are still members. I am what they consider "inactive". Do I think it's a cult? Yes. But I also think that of all organized religion so I guess you can take that with a grain of salt. My (non-Mormon) cousins grew up in Sandy and they too faced the judgement that came from being an "outsider" in Utah. It's crappy really...and the number one reason why I will never move to Utah. Such a shame.

  36. EC, I am sorry. The posting of that picture was not to illicit ill towards you or any other person not of my faith. I simply found it amusing, so I posted it. I do not understand how this picture belittles your faith, so perhaps that is my own lack of judgment.

    As for saying that I and all others of my religion are members of a cult, by your quote "A dictionary will tell you that a "cult" is a group of people who are regarded by others as strange. That particular group must have a devotion to a certain object or person." perhaps. But I have never deigned to not be strange.

    I am so sorry that so many of my faith have so grievously offended you, but I cannot apologize for them, as it is not my place. They are not acting as faithful believers of their own doctrine. For to truely be faithful theymust act upon the teachings, not just read them and demand others believe like them or else.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints knows that this problem exists. It was brought up at the last General Conference. I will not go into detail here, as this comment is running long as it is. But I will say that these are human short comings, not doctrinal issues.

    I love you for who you are, not what you believe. I hope you will forgive me for any short sighted offenses I may have made to you over the years.

    -Your old friend from Jr. High